Information regarding the CAA's policy and guidance relating to wind turbines and aviation, links to further information and contact Email addresses.

Wind Turbines and Aviation Interests

The Government is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions within the UK and, in turn, this means there is now a shift towards economically viable renewable energy sources rather than carbon fuels.  It is anticipated that wind energy will provide a significant contribution to renewable energy targets.  In order to harness this energy supply, both on-and offshore wind turbine developments are being constructed, which range from single structures to developments encompassing over one hundred wind turbines and which range in size from less than 30 metres to over 150 metres tall.  The physical characteristics of wind turbines coupled with the size and siting of the developments can result in effects which impact on aviation. 

Under the Civil Aviation Act, the CAA is responsible for providing advice about aviation safety.  The Authority’s Directorate of Airspace Policy (DAP) has the lead responsibility within the CAA for all wind turbine related issues.  The Authority’s policy on wind turbine development and related guidance to the UK civil aviation community is set out in CAP 764.

CAA recommends pre-planning consultation to establish both civil and military aviation related issues at the earliest possible stage. 

However, due to diminishing requirements and resource limitations the CAA has withdrawn from its voluntary involvement in the pre planning process which was announced in a CAA News Release.

More detail about the underlying reasons are available in the Changes to CAA Involvement document. Guidance is available to assist developers in the CAA Advice for Pre-Planning document.

The object of the exercise is to facilitate consultation that leads, wherever possible, to a mutually agreeable way forward.  It should be noted that prime responsibility for the physical and technical safeguarding of an aerodrome rests with the aerodrome operator / licensee as opposed to the regulator. Therefore, on a generic basis, the CAA and the aviation industry as a whole is pro-active in ensuring that aviation interests are protected from wind turbine developments.  Aviation issues aside, the CAA has no role in assessing the purely environmental implications of any project and, significantly, has no power of veto over any proposed wind turbine development.

As with any development, related decision making responsibility rests with the appropriate planning authorities who will take into account the potential impact upon local aviation activities.  Local planning authorities will consult local aerodromes as follows:

  • Officially safeguarded aerodromes. 

Planning authorities must consult aerodromes on all matters relating to safeguarding (DfT / ODPM / NAFW Circular 1/2003 and Scottish Circular 2/2003 refers).

  • Non-officially safeguarded aerodromes. 

Aerodrome Operators are advised to establish a consultation process with local planning authorities.

 In both instances, consultation should be carried out with the aerodrome concerned.  

Guidance for Planning Authorities

The Airspace & Safety Initiative (ASI) is a joint CAA, NATS, AOA, GA and MoD effort to investigate and tackle the major safety risks in UK airspace.

ASI has produced the following guidance: